COVID-19 News

Potato growers in Northern Ireland to receive more Covid support funds

A further Covid-19 support scheme worth up to £2 million for Northern Ireland farmers growing potatoes for the processing supply chain has been announced. The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector. Growers who still have quantities of unsold potatoes in their stores, which were destined for the potato processing supply chain, can apply.

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Lamb Weston posted ‘robust’ fiscal results, expects demand for fries to return to pre-pandemic levels

Lamb Weston Holdings posted robust fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 results, as both top and bottom lines increased year over year. Results were largely aided by demand recovery for frozen potato products, with curbs being lifted and restaurant traffic improving. Demand in Europe and key export markets is likely to improve with the increased availability of vaccines in the regions.

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Viewpoint: ‘How COVID has altered the future of US agriculture and the role of biotechnology’

The past year has been a doozy. Being locked up for a year and watching half a million Americans die was traumatizing. In the most productive agricultural country in the world, millions of people lined up for food and many Americans died because Covid preferentially attacks people with pre-existing conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So says Jim Budzynski in an article published by Genetic Literacy Project.

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NPC President: Hoping for foodservice to open up, having live conversations with growers

Nearly halfway through his national potato council presidency, Dominic Lajoie spoke to Newssource8′s Rhian Lowndes about how things are going in this week’s County Ag. “The Delta variant and spikes across the country, it’s concerning,” he says. “We definitely want our schools open, our universities open, our restaurants fully open. You know food service is a big part of the potato industry. If those markets aren’t developed back to where they were, we’re gonna feel a lot more pain.”

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Annual Report: McCain Foods in Britain impacted by pandemic and poor potato crop

McCain Foods (GB) Ltd is a leading manufacturer of frozen potato products in Great Britain. The company this week released its “Annual Report and Unaudited Financial Statements for the Financial Year ended June 2020”. According to the annual report, McCain saw drop in annual sales and fell to a loss last year as Covid hit its out of home sales and it suffered from a poor potato crop.

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Turning the page on 2020 good for potato growers, says industry leader

2021 is a new year for potato growers, and that’s a good thing. “Most growers are pretty happy to have last year behind them,” said Mark Klompien, president and CEO of the United Potato Growers of America. Challenges of the COVID-10 pandemic for growers included the ups and downs of the demand side of the equation, both in the fresh and processed sectors.

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Pandemic impact: Home consumption of fresh potatoes in Belgium increased by eight percent

Potatoes are the top side dish in Belgium. On an average day in 2020, 41% of Belgians ate these (incl. fries). A lot of people were already eating potatoes at home. But, due to COVID-19 and its related measures, that rose in 2020. That’s according to a Flemish Agri and Fisheries Marketing Center (VLAM) press release. In 2020, home consumption of fresh potatoes increased by eight percent. That ended the downward trend in in-home consumption.

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£2 million pandemic support package for potato growers in Northern Ireland

New details of a £2 million Covid-19 support scheme for potato growers in Northern Ireland impacted by the pandemic has been announced. They must complete an online Expression of Interest form by 11 June to register for the scheme and request an inspection of all potatoes held in their stores. The financial support package comes in response to the significant reduction in demand for potatoes from the hospitality and food service sector.

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Frito-Lay consumer snacking poll: Memorial Day kicks off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’

Memorial Day on May 31 in the US is expected to kick off an anticipated ‘breakout summer’ as consumers catch up on activities they missed out on last year, and however and wherever consumers are celebrating, snacks will be plentiful, Frito-Lay says in a press release. Frito-Lay’s latest U.S. Snack Index, a poll focused on consumers’ snacking habits, found that eight in 10 indicated they plan many activities outside the house during Memorial Day.

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‘Scotland finds our quality chips to be extremely tasty’, says Wilson’s Country chairman

The growth in home cooking during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more families in Northern Ireland picking up packs of local potatoes for meals. It’s a development that Angus Wilson of Wilson’s Country in Craigavon, Northern Ireland’s largest potato processor, has been working towards for many years. In addition, novel potato products from the Northern Ireland company last week won acclaim for their quality and taste from retailers in Scotland in the shape of a major award for a UK producer in the influential Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.

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Northern Ireland potato growers to receive Covid-19 financial aid

Potato growers in Northern Ireland whose incomes have been directly impacted by the pandemic will receive financial aid, the government has announced. FarmingUK reports that the Covid-19 support package will contribute towards the verifiable losses incurred by farmers and growers during periods of lockdown. The financial aid will help to address the cash flow difficulties and financial impact of losing valuable markets.

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MountainKing’s COVID relief efforts top 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes for Houston Food Bank

One year after making its first COVID-19 relief delivery to the Houston Food Bank, MountainKing has now shipped more than 1.6 million pounds of fresh potatoes to the non-profit organization dedicated to providing nutritious meals to those in need. “For years, MountainKing has been a supporter of the Houston Food Bank and its mission of providing food for better lives,” notes Andreas Trettin, the company’s director of marketing.

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COVID-19 compliance costly for Washington State potato growers, packers

In a recently completed survey by the IMPACT Center at Washington State University, it was found that Washington State farm families’ direct compliance outlays to manage COVID-10 were roughly $2,532 per month. Direct compliance outlays were found to be much higher for those businesses packing potatoes at $4,340 per month.

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Second pandemic wave caused depressed British potato market

AHDB Arable analyst, Thomma Shepherd, provides an analysis of what has driven potato markets over the last few weeks. She says the weekly average price survey, covering all sectors of the industry, shows potatoes have had a depressed few months, lagging behind previous seasons. The 2nd wave of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has killed a lot of demand for potatoes. With the majority of hospitality closed along with schools there has been little optimism within the industry.

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New Zealand: The local chippie industry under threat?

The impact of Covid-19 on the chip industry in the Northern Hemisphere is putting locally grown and processed hot potato chips at the local chippie under threat. Potatoes NZ CEO Chris Claridge is looking for Government action to protect New Zealand potato farmers from the influx of frozen fries grown and processed in Europe undercutting their locally grown equivalent.

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A marketing strategy that works: Idahoan Foods reached nearly 5 million new households since start of pandemic

Idahoan Foods saw sales of its fresh-dried mashed potato products rise during the pandemic as consumers cooked more meals at home. Consumers embraced more time at home by experimenting with new recipes, reaching for global flavors as a way to explore other cultures, and showed off their skills on social media. Idahoan tapped into these rapidly evolving consumer trends and pivoted marketing strategies throughout the year in order to connect with new households and keep encouraging consumers.

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Utz CEO: Boulder Canyon potato chips doing well with customers looking for healthier snacks

Some Utz Brands buyers are opting for snacks with healthier ingredients such as the avocado oil used to cook the Boulder Canyon potato chips, Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette told CNBC. The snack company has been rebranding and developing the Boulder Canyon chips since it bought its manufacturer Inventure Foods in 2017, said Lissette on CNBC’s Mad Money. “We’ve got a lot of excitement around those ‘better for you brands’,” Lissette said.

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Here’s how one of Idaho’s biggest potato farms got hundreds of workers vaccinated

One of the largest potato producers in Idaho had just days to prepare for something its leaders had been anxiously awaiting for months. With the more-contagious COVID-19 variants spreading in Idaho and cases rising again in the Idaho Falls and Rexburg regions, about a dozen nurses and staff from occupational health provider Sterling Medical vaccinated roughly 350 people employed by Mickelsen Farms, Rigby Produce and Potato Products of Idaho in four hours.

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Idaho potato crop brings in record revenue, but didn’t benefit everyone equally

The Idaho potato industry ended up doing well in 2020, despite the pandemic. The industry set an all-time record for cash receipts according to University of Idaho economists. Potatoes brought in $1.08 billion in 2020, a 13% increase compared to the year before. But, as Twin Falls Times-News journalist Colin Tiernan reports, those record revenues came with a lot of stress and didn’t benefit everyone equally.

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Pandemic slashed Belgian potato sector, processing volume down

No one could miss it in the media last year: the corona pandemic slashed the Belgian potato sector. In the 2019-2020 season, where the free market was in balance, growers and buyers were from one day to the next confronted with a global lockdown and the collapse of the demand for potatoes by the hospitality and food service sectors, says the Belgian potato trade and processing industry association, Belgapom, in a press release.

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2020 a ‘turbulent’ year for Cosun and Aviko, but positive outlook for 2021

Royal Cosun closed 2020 with a slightly higher group result than in 2019, the company says in a press release issued this week. The result was the outcome of the wide-ranging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business groups in an exceptional year. Aviko had an exceptionally turbulent year. Following its record operating profit in 2019, volume fell sharply in March 2020 when the hospitality sector was shut down during the first lockdown. But Aviko is confident it will pursue its growth strategy in 2021.

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Covid-19 outbreak among staff at Branston potato packaging plant

Multiple employees at Branston’s Perthshire potato packaging plant have tested positive for Covid-19. Staff at Branston in Abernethy were confirmed to have the virus with several more forced into isolation because of the outbreak. The company will now close down for around 36 hours from Friday to undergo a deep clean.

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Side Delights: Healthy-eating, immunity gain importance with consumers since pandemic

Side Delights revealed recently released trend data on the growing focus on the health benefits of foods and the impact it has on consumer behavior. Since the inception of the pandemic, healthy-eating and immunity has continued to gain importance with consumers, and it shows in their shopping habits. Side Delights says its potatoes are grown in the best potato growing areas, stored in high-tech storage facilities, and packed and delivered close to customers/final mile experts.

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Idaho spud industry did well in 2020 despite pandemic

The Idaho potato industry ended up doing well in 2020, despite the pandemic. The industry set an all-time record for cash receipts according to University of Idaho economists. Potatoes brought in $1.08 billion in 2020, a 13% increase compared to the year before. But those record revenues came with a lot of stress and didn

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